Antipasto Estudio

Studying the NFL & Specifically the Super Bowl

Who Will Win the 2017 Super Bowl?

Vegas’ Odds For An Odd Super Bowl 51 

It’s that time of the year again. What seems like just the other day that we watched the Denver Broncos take down the Carolina Panthers, it is time for a new Super Bowl, and out of that a new Super Bowl Champion. The greatest barometer for who will win comes from the city who makes it their lives to predict sporting events, Las Vegas. Let’s look at what teams Las Vegas is betting on as the Super Bowl 51 Champion come February.

In no particular order, since the NFL can change drastically every week, we have the Oakland Raiders. The hot hand of Derek Carr from Fresno State, and their combination of rejected athletes make for a compelling story that any casual fan can get behind. They have the 5th highest scoring offense in the league, and find themselves on top of a very tough AFC West division. The official Vegas odds are 16-1.

Next we have on the docket, the on again and off again offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Le’Von Bell now putting up big numbers and off the injury list, Ben Rothesburger is putting up huge numbers. As anyone knows having an amazing Running Back is the key to putting together an amazing passing game. A passing game that, in the Steel City, is going to be headed by the amazing Antonio Brown. Vegas is putting this AFC at 15-1, provided they can all stay healthy.

In the NFC we have a team similar to the AFC’S Raiders, in the Dallas Cowboys. For years everyone thought that their coach Jason Gerrett would be fired. For years, everyone though that Tony Romo would be finally taken out of the game forever with an injury or replaced by a young rookie. Well after so many years we have the answer, Tony Romo is being benched for the hot hand that is Dak Prescott. This rookie hailing from Sulphur, Louisiana has teamed up with a running back rookie who is shattering records, Ezekiel Elliott. The two rookies are doing things that no one could believe from the Dallas Cowboys. Take for example the fact that 28.5 points per game, and are both in talks for MVP. Add in the all-pro level of their Sean Lee lead defense, and you have Vegas giving this team 11-2 odds.

Next in the NFC West we have the most dominant defense in this decade with the Seattle Seahawks. The secret to their success is a defense that keeps giving their opponents no chance to score, by leading the league with allowing only 17.2 points per meeting. That and with their offense coming alive more than ever, it’s hard for this reporter to not imagine them meeting the AFC darling in the Superbowl. Jimmy Graham is starting to finally play like his old NOLA self, and Russell Wilson is finally healed from his high ankle sprain. Vegas is giving this team the odds of 5-1.

From the cold New England tundra comes the white hot Patriots, lead by the angry Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, QB and coaching duo. Many people like to say this team is only as good as Tom Brady is playing, but they are forgetting that they went through 3 QBs during the first four weeks of the season due to a certain ball scandal, and only lost one game. Now you take the QB position and put in the greatest QB to ever play the game of football and now you have not only what Vegas is thinking is the most likely favorite for the Super Bowl 51 winner, but also this writer’s favorite. With Amendola, Gronk, Edleman, and now Chris Hogan coming online from their Wide Receiving core, along with the amazing running back committee of Lewis, Blount and White, Brady has an insane amount of targets. Oh and not to mention the towering eighth wonder of the world, Gronk, it’s impossible to not expect them to be holding the trophy in the end. Vegas is giving this powerhouse the odds of 13-5.

Top 5 Individual Performances in Super Bowl History

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events of the year, so naturally it makes sense for players to get nervous beforehand and not perform as well. That being said, there are those who perform their absolute best in the spotlight, and in this list I’m going to examine each of their accomplishments.

5.) To start of the list, let’s take a look at Von Miller’s astounding performance in Super Bowl 50. Von Miller anchored what was perhaps the greatest defense since the 2000 Ravens. Miller has 2.5 sacks, and 6 total tackles. Two of those sacks were strip sacks, and ultimately led to a total of 15 points for the Broncos. Without Miller on defense, it’s quite possible that Came Newton could’ve had a successful game, ultimately resulting in Peyton Manning not obtaining his second ring.

4.) Phil Simms may not be a top 5 all time quarterback, but he certainly performed like one in Super Bowl XXI. He posted the highest quarterback rating in Super Bowl history (150.9), a record that still stands today. He completed 22 of 25 touchdowns, three of which were for touchdowns.

3.) In Super Bowl XXIII, Jerry Rice went absolutely insane. The phenomenal receiver hauled in 11 receptions for an astounding 215 yards, a Super Bowl record. Rice has had his share of amazing Super Bowl performances, but this one has earned a spot on this list. He made a crucial touchdown grab in the fourth quarter to help tie the game. Rice is one of the all time greats, and this Super Bowl is a prime example of why.

2.) Joe Montana is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, and he demonstrated why in Super Bowl XXIV. Montana threw for 297 yards and 5 touchdowns, a Super Bowl record at the time, in a crushing rout of the Denver Broncos. Montana had four incredible Super Bowls, but while the others may have been more contested than this one, he didn’t shine quite as statistically bright. He will always be remembered for his late game heroics against the Bengals, but he won’t be forgotten by spectators of Super Bowl XXIV anytime soon. Montana’s record 5 touchdowns in the Super Bowl displayed just how dominant he was in his era. After all, he was dueling against a Broncos team led by fellow Hall of Fame member John Elway. On that day however, no one thought that Elway would end up in the hall of fame, as Montana made the entire Broncos squad look pathetic.

1.) While Montana had an amazing performance in Super Bowl XXIV, it doesn’t quite match up to the legendary game that his backup had in Super Bowl XXIX. Before Steve Young emerged as an elite quarterback, he was just the backup quarterback for the 49ers. When Montana got injured and was traded away, many 49ers fans didn’t even want Young to start, they wanted their old quarterback to return. As a result, Young faced scrutiny throughout his career and lived in Joe Montana’s enormous shadow. It’s because of this that Super Bowl XXIV is absolutely vital to Steve Young’s legacy. Young went in knowing that his predecessor had been successful in previous Super Bowls, setting numerous records and making defenses look helpless. In response, Young absolutely obliterated the opposition on that day. Throwing for 325 yards and a new Super Bowl record 6 touchdown passes. He led the 49ers to a 49-26 win over the Chargers, earning the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl. In the process, Young also broke his predecessor’s record for touchdown passes in a Super Bowl.